LONDON, November 18, 2019
Via Hikma Ventures
Hikma Pharmaceuticals PLC (LSE: HIK) (NASDAQ Dubai: HIK) (OTC: HKMPY), (rated Ba1 Moody’s / BB+ S&P, both stable) announces that its venture capital arm, Hikma Ventures has led a CAD 5.6 million oversubscribed round of financing for Winterlight Labs Inc. with participation from First Star Ventures, Pacific Health Ventures, existing investor Grey Sky Venture Partners and other investors.
Toronto-based Winterlight Labs Inc. is developing a proprietary Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology that melds computational linguistics, cognitive neuroscience, and machine learning to help healthcare professionals assess and analyse patients’ cognitive health – including memory, thinking and reasoning – from vocal markers captured in short snippets of speech on a tablet computer. Using a one-minute sample of a patient’s natural speech, Winterlight’s novel approach can quickly and accurately detect various cognitive and mental disorders, such as dementia and aphasia amongst others, and then monitor the efficacy of treatments.
Lana Ghanem, Managing Director of Hikma Ventures, said, “We are very excited to enter into the field of vocal diagnostics by leading the investment in Winterlight Labs. We recognise the global potential of voice analysis for the diagnosis, monitoring and ongoing treatment of various diseases and look forward to working with the team and our co-investors to help advance the technology and expand disease areas and geographies covered, especially in the Middle East and North Africa.”
Hikma Ventures operates as the corporate venture capital arm of Hikma Pharmaceuticals. Its priority is to identify and invest in emerging companies in the digital health space globally that have the potential to enhance Hikma’s market intelligence and future pipeline.
“We are happy to have Hikma Ventures and other investors join Winterlight Labs in our mission to improve the lives of people with dementia and other psychiatric illnesses,” commented Liam Kaufman, Co-founder and CEO of Winterlight Labs. “The technology our team is creating will reshape the way healthcare systems track, screen for and assess the effectiveness of treatments for various central nervous system diseases.”
Winterlight will be using the proceeds of this financing to extend its technology to additional indications, such as schizophrenia and multiple sclerosis, as well as additional languages. “Our ultimate goal is to help patients get better sooner by objectively measuring response to therapy in the real world through speech,” continued Kaufman.
Founded in August 2015, Hikma Ventures operates as the corporate venture capital arm of Hikma Pharmaceuticals. Hikma Ventures invests in global start-ups where Hikma's expertise can accelerate revenue growth and enhance value creation by providing ventures with access to the resources of a multinational pharmaceutical company. For more information, please visit www.hikmaventures.com.
Winterlight Labs is commercializing a proprietary language-based diagnostic system that analyzes natural speech to detect and monitor dementia, Alzheimer’s, aphasia, and various other cognitive conditions. Winterlight's scalable platform uses short recorded speech samples to analyze hundreds of linguistic cues, and can detect dementia and other conditions with a high level of accuracy. This is a major improvement over current pencil-and-paper tests which are time-consuming, costly, and difficult to administer. The platform has applications in drug trials, long-term and primary care, and speech-language pathology.
Since its founding, Winterlight Labs has seen strong interest from pharmaceutical companies and other potential partners who view the technology as a major improvement over current methods of detection or screening. The company has gained support from the pan-Canadian AGE-WELL Network of Centres of Excellence (NCE), the Ontario Brain Institute, Ontario Centres of Excellence, and the University of Toronto Banting and Best Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. For more information, visit www.winterlightlabs.com.
Liam Kaufman, CEO
liam [at] winterlightlabs.com